After the New York City setback in 1976, Prince hired a manager and returned to the studio. Two songs recorded in 1977 that were never officially released by him, “Make It Through the Storm” and “We Can Work It Out,” are the focus of episode 140 of the Press Rewind – Prince Lyrics Podcast. With lyrics by Chris Moon, “Make It Through the Storm” doesn’t get the complete breakdown treatment, but the story behind the Prince-penned “We Can Work It Out” makes for an amusing narrative for his earliest record label interactions.
Make It Through the Storm – This is one of the closest things to a finished song than most of what is found on Prince’s early vault material. The song has clear, distinct verses, choruses, and even a bridge, indicating it was a (probably) finished track (minus overdubs). If this had made it on the final album tracklisting, it would have been a nice addition, although I don’t think it would have been one of the album’s strongest tracks. It should have been a B-side, however. Sue Ann Carwell must have agreed, as her rockier 1981 version ended up as a B-side to her single, “Let Me Let You Rock Me.”
To my knowledge, there is only one version of “Make It Through the Storm” in circulation with Prince’s vocals on it. My question is, which version is it? According to Prince Vault, there’s a version from Moon Sound studio in 1976, part of the demos Prince made with Chris Moon to take with him to New York City. Then there’s a re-recorded version from Sound 80 studio in Minneapolis, presumably recorded after Prince returned from NYC (either late ’76 or early ’77). Finally, there’s a version recorded at Record Plant studio in Sausalito, California, when Prince was recording songs for the For You album. That doesn’t even include yet another version recorded in ’78 with Sue Ann Carwell on vocals, once it was determined that this song wouldn’t make the final For You album tracklisting. My money’s on this being the Record Plant version due to its crisp and clear sound, but I am simply guessing. Anyone with more insight and knowledge that can confirm or deny my estimation is welcome to let me know.
We Can Work It Out / I Hope We Can Work It Out – This track is an exercise in musicianship designed to tell a story about a budding relationship between a boy and his new record label. “Making music naturally, with me and WB,” Prince declares throughout the song, giving more credence to my theory this was never actually meant to find its way onto a record with these lyrics intact. I would be interested to hear stories from any surviving executives attending the reception party in June of 1977, where Prince brought this track to be played at. Were they impressed? Were they confused? I’m not sure what the explosion sound effect at the track’s end is meant to signify other than maybe a Prince’s career = Big Bang or Nuclear hyperbole. A cool little footnote of a song.
The goal of each episode of Press Rewind is to:
- Take a track by track look at the lyrical content of Prince’s discography
- Discuss my own interpretation of each song’s lyrics along with any guest I may have
- If submitted, discuss listener’s interpretations of each song’s lyrics
Thank you for joining me on this journey through Prince’s catalog!